Food Network Star” winner Jeff Mauro is back hosting all-new episodes of “Kitchen Crash.” New episodes air Wednesdays at 10 PM ET on the Food Network.
On “Kitchen Crash”, Mauro brings three chefs to unsuspecting American neighborhoods. He then convinces homeowners to let the chefs raid their pantries and fridges. The chefs must prepare a dish using only what they find.
Heavy had a chance to catch up with Mauro about the challenges and benefits of filming the show as well as his other current projects.
How Real Is ‘Kitchen Crash’?
How much do the homeowners featured on “Kitchen Crash” really know about the show’s premise ahead of time? Mauro says, not much.
“Sure, we have to find a block with some houses full of people who are willing to play a game. But the beauty of it is, these people have no idea what the game is. They don’t know it’s a Food Network show. We don’t want them to stock their fridges and pantries. We wanted to really bum rush them and gather what they have and make these chefs work hard,” Mauro told Heavy.
As a result, the show provides an organic look at the neighborhoods of America. “What you get is an overwhelming sense of community and camaraderie whether you’re in Austin or Pflugerville or Bay Ridge. You see the beauty of this country through the blocks,” says Mauro, who still lives down the road from the block he grew up on.
Mauro Revealed the ‘Hardest Part’ of the Show
Cooking with only what you can carry out of an everyday American’s pantry? Sounds just a bit harder than “Chopped”!
As for how the chefs in the new episodes fare with the challenge, Mauro told Heavy, “they struggle. And that’s I guess the beauty of the show. When they have to make a dessert, and they don’t have sugar or honey, it’s not fun. But it’s amazing the creativity that arises from that challenge.”
Although Mauro doesn’t cook on the show, he revealed the hardest part of hosting “Kitchen Crash.”
“The hardest part of the show isn’t sending the chefs home, nor telling the adults that they didn’t win, it’s the children’s response when their chefs get eliminated,” Mauro said. On “Kitchen Crash”, the chefs aren’t just playing for themselves, they’re playing for the families whose kitchens they’ve raided. And there’s $5,000 on the line.
“The kids end up crying a lot and looking at me as a villain. One of the kids looked at me and said, ‘we’re not getting a pool this summer.’ I’m the guy who singlehandedly kept the pool out of their backyard. So I’ve got a lot of enemies in the twelve and under range,” Mauro joked.
Mauro’s New Cookbook Title Was Inspired by His Family
Mauro’s latest cookbook, “Come On Over“, was released in April. Mauro says the title is something he heard his mother say on the phone throughout his childhood. “I knew it meant that our house would instantly be filled with people and food,” he told Heavy.
Mauro says that growing up, his house was “the nucleus of the neighborhood and the family. Those three words (come on over) just embody so much of what I loved about my upbringing and my current state as kind of being the new nucleus of my family. My whole family is coming over tomorrow for my nephew’s birthday.”
The cookbook includes recipes from all facets of Mauro’s life, including sandwiches, a baking section inspired by his wife’s recipes, and recipes he perfected while working at a deli when he was fifteen. “I have some pretty revealing and funny stories in there, it’s the funniest cookbook ever,” Mauro says.
Mauro Also Has a Podcast of the Same Name
Mauro’s podcast, “Come On Over“, is also a family affair.
“We started at the beginning of the pandemic in my basement. We haven’t had any celebrity guests. It’s just us. My mom comes on, my dad comes on, my brother, the neighborhood bartender that lives down the street shares drink recipes,” Mauro told Heavy. His younger sister Emily is also the podcast’s co-host, producer, and editor.
Mauro believes that the intimate nature of the podcast sets it apart. After all, there are plenty of podcasts with celebrity guests and plenty of podcasts about food. “I don’t wanna know your opinion on how to reverse sear a tomahawk ribeye,” says Mauro. “What I do want to hear about is how my dad and my mom got into an argument about the remote last night.”
Mauro’s Dogs Are Part of His Family
Mauro is also very committed to two special members of his family: his two dogs, JoJo and Pinot G.
“My dogs run the house. They’re our second and third children,” Mauro told Heavy. “My son Lorenzo is twelve now, he’s pretty self-sufficient. My dogs on the other hand stare at us until we take them on three walks a day. They eat really well. They each have their own frisbees and little portable dog bowls with bottled water. If you told me ten years ago that I’d be this passionate about my dogs, I would’ve said that future Jeff is a crazy man,” the “Food Network” star said.
Mauro has a new partnership with the dog food brand CESAR, which he says has been “so organic because it pairs my passion for food with my passion for dogs.”
Starting July 13, CESAR is doing a “pup-up” experience through Postmates in New York and Los Angeles. With each delivery, pet parents will receive a CESAR WHOLESOME BOWL for their dog as well as a bowl for humans crafted by Mauro himself.
“My bowl has got honey roasted sweet potatoes, arugula, lemon thyme vinaigrette, chicken,” Mauro told Heavy. He says that the pup-up experience is perfect for his family.
“It reinforces shared mealtime moments and creates a routine for the dogs. I’m in the position where if we’re eating, our dogs are eating with us. If they see us dining at the table as a family, they’re like ‘where’s ours’”.